All-Access with Bruce Arians: Welcome to the playoffs

Dec 29, 2014, 10:02 PM | Updated: 10:02 pm
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians meets the media the day after every game, often times explaining injury situations as well as anything else he may have seen the day before.

Here in this space, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes.

“Welcome to the playoffs. It’s a fun and exciting time. Obviously, we’re 0-0 and looking forward to the trip. Carolina is playing extremely hot right now, especially on defense. I’m more impressed with the way Cam (Newton) has come back after the accident; it’s good to see him back playing. Like he said – somebody was smiling on him. He presents different problems than Colin (Kaepernick) and Russell (Wilson); he’s more of a combination of both those guys. He can really throw the football extremely well from the pocket. It presents a multitude of problems for us. Obviously, we have to do a better job tackling, stopping that running game, getting them in manageable third downs for us and eliminate the mistakes that we’ve made the last couple games and the big plays. We gave up an easy touchdown the other day when Ty (Tyrann Mathieu) and Cro (Antonio Cromartie) don’t communicate on a switch, then we turn a guy loose for a touchdown. If you’re going to continue on, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes. I think there were three really critical errors in the Frisco game — the interception after we had a really good drive going, the hands to the face when we stopped them and would’ve still had the lead had they kicked the field goal and obviously that touchdown. The rest of the game is playing football, but those mistakes were self-inflicted and easily correctable. I look forward to getting out on the field, practicing, taking this challenge, and like I said, looking forward to it.”

What they can take away from playing Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick and correcting those mistakes before going against Cam Newton

“It’s the experience part of it. They’re all a little bit different in the way they coach the read options and the power game. Carolina runs a ton of quarterback runs that are designed for him to run the football. So they’re a little bit different. San Francisco had a few, but not as many as Carolina runs, especially off the read. We’ll wear pads on Wednesday. We won’t wear pads on Tuesday — it’s too soon after the ballgame — and try to simulate it as best we can.”

What do you see in Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen

“Greg is a real mismatch for anybody because he has wide receiver speed. You can’t treat him as a wideout though because of the running game. You can’t put a nickel in there, which we have done some in the past. He’s always been that problem. He’s not the greatest blocker in the world, but he’s good enough. Benjamin is another big, young wideout who will go up and eat it off your head if you let him. I like our matchups there better with our corners. The matchup on Greg is a tough one.”

What do you see on film from Carolina’s defense

“They got probably the best middle linebacker in the game (Luke Kuechly). He’s as good as it gets. The back end, now that they put all those young kids in there, they are playing extremely fast. They have a tremendous blitz package. (Defensive coordinator) Sean McDermott does a good job with his blitz package. He studied under one of the best ever in Jim Johnson from Philadelphia. It’s a unique blitz package, so if you’re not ready for it, it can really embarrass you.”

Are the missed tackles and blown coverages alarming, especially on a short work week

“No, it’s just something that we have to correct because it wasn’t a problem up until now. Getting in the right gap and making a tackle should be pretty easy. As far as making a hand signal — who’s got who on a coverage when you got an all-out blitz on, that’s not really hard either. The fact that it happened yesterday, I’d much rather it happen then than next Saturday.”

How much more time will you spend on tackling during the padded practice on Wednesday

“We don’t tackle anyway, but we get our pads lower and we bump people up. We don’t tackle anybody to the ground at practice anyway.”

Does coaching for the playoffs demands any changes

“No, you don’t change from what you did to get here. Obviously, it works, so you stay with the process. Everything fine-tunes, because one mistake now is the end of the season. I think once you, as players and coaches, get a grasp of that, the better you are really quick.”

Is there any update on Drew Stanton

“He’s progressing and nothing’s really changed. We’ve got our fingers crossed that possibly he could go later in the week.”

How do you feel about the offense

“I feel fine. I thought after that ballgame, other than the turnovers, we played extremely well. You can’t turn it over. We need some short fields to score more points; we can’t go 80 and 90 (yards) every time. We’ll make three or four first downs and get up there, it’s fringe field goal range and run out of gas. Any time you get 26 first downs and close to 400 yards, you had a pretty decent day. You just can’t turn the football over when you’re down there.”

Where did you see the biggest improvement in Ryan Lindley

“Yeah, a little bit of everything — the command of it, where he was going with the ball and Mike (Floyd) made some plays for him, which we didn’t do in the other game, which we had chances to. It’s just a matter of continuing to grow.”

What happened on the three interceptions

“John Brown and he were on total wrong pages on the one. They had dropped I think eight and he just didn’t know where to go with it. The other was a scramble, he thinks he can get it to the back for five more yards, shorten that field and field goal when we had the field goal; we could’ve made that long field goal. Those are learning experiences. The last one is just trying to make too much in a bad situation. You get the sack on first down; don’t try to get it all back on second down. Try to get half of it back. Misread the coverage and thought he had the same coverage he had on the first one. That’s all part of it.”

Why has the run defense been a problem over the last six weeks

“It’s just because of tackling. Guys missing tackles, whether we crack-replace on the outside, or get out of our gaps inside and it’s not getting blown off the ball. It’s the same defense that lined up at Dallas. The quarterbacks have a lot to do with it. The last two ballgames, it has a lot to do with the quarterbacks dropping back to pass and running, but also, a big run — the 50-yarder in Atlanta, the 40-yarder the other day. There’s always that one big run that’s always a missed tackle.”

How do you keep the players that haven’t played in the playoffs before grounded

“It’s just no different than any other ballgame. You prepare the same. The level of expectation is higher. The level of preparation, you just have to do a little bit more, not a whole lot more. It might be 15 or 20 minutes of study you didn’t do before you just add on and make sure that you’re not the guy that costs us.”

Is there any concern the team is not peaking at the right time

“I would think you’d say that, but I don’t think there’s any concern because we’re in the playoffs and it doesn’t matter.”

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